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Martial Arts training Manual for
Shaolin Kung Fu

1 June 2006


Training Manual Part One - Inner Kung Fu

The prowess of a kung fu master does not lie in his physical strength but his mental power. Yet most people who pursue the martial arts excellence do not realise this fact, as the result they focus primarily on their physical training. They would spend all their time on thrusting their hands into a bucket of sand, punching iron bars, carrying iron poles, or trying to open iron locks bare handed. The sad truth is, the harder they train, the weak their qi and harder they will fall.

So I have to stress this point again. The proper way of Kung Fu training is to build your inner core strength first by purifying and harnessing your qi, the next you’ll need to let the core strength grow until the pure qi spreads to every corner of your body. Only after you’ve done the hard yard in your inner part, you then can consider to start your Outer Kung Fu training.

There are numerous techniques to work on your outer strength, here I introduce two.

1, IRON MAN (遍体铜人法(弥勒布袋活步功)

It is one of the most powerful methods, but also the least known by outside world.

The Iron Man masters of the past were capable of taking off promptly and swiftly at any moment, like that a bird darting through the trees, back and forth across the woods, and that a tiger pounding on its prey with the ferocity which leaves no doubt about the outcome of the game.

The high level of a martial arts skill as such is incredibly hard to achieve, yet it is not impossible.

The Following are the training details for Iron Man:

Craft Punching Bags

The bag should be around 1.4 - 1.5 meter long, made of multi-layer cotton or other durable material in order to withstand impact of repeated punch, and filled with grits weighted 12, 18 or 24 kilograms. Make sure the opening of the bag is securely stitch sealed.

Step One, Iron Man with Single Bag (走马一元袋 / 单袋)

Hang a punching bag at your chest height.

Position yourself in front of the bag and deliver a strike in the manner that you would do to your combat opponent. Each time the bag bounces back, hit it away with your head, shoulder, elbow, hand, knee, foot, hip respectively, and do so from different angles - front, back and sideways.

Initially, you may respond spontaneously. As the training progresses, you should learn to adapt more advance approaches, such as Rolling Steps (转环步), Path of Seven Stars (七星步).

It requires huge amount of time to practice in order to gain any real progress. The longer the duration of a training session, the better the result will be.

Step Two, Iron Man with Double Bags (双环乾坤袋练法 / 阴阳袋)

After having become totally familiar with the Single Bag approach, you can add one more bag to work on your yin-yang balance.

Tie the bags firmly at each end of a 3 meter long thick rope, hang them 1 meter apart in loose coils that are one meter above the bags. Rise the bags from the ground to your waist height.

Position yourself between the bags and punch the one in front of you. As the stroke causes the rear bag to swing towards you, you’ll have to turn round swiftly and hit it back. You can use your palm edge, fist, head, shoulder, elbow, hip or knee alternatively, the important thing is that you must act promptly according to the situation. For all the time, you need to fix your eyes firmly on the bag before you, while listening attentively to the sound caused by the motion of the bag behind you. Your mind has to be calm yet alert, your breath should be deep yet smooth, and your action must be rapid yet stable, since any mishap could leave you with serious injuries.

Step Three, Iron Body with Four Bags (四方袋 )

After you have become totally familiar with the Double Bags technique, you can add two more bags to learn how to counter attacks from four different directions simultaneously.

Hang the bags in the four corners of the training room at your waist height, and position yourself among the bags. Use the technique of Five Stars Iron Steps to strike the bags. The key points to remember when training are same to that of Double Bags.

Step Four, Iron Body with Nine Bags (九宫袋)

After you have become totally familiar with the Four Bags approach, you can add five more bags to ultimately perfect your skills of Iron Man.

Hang three bags in each of the four corners, and one in the centre of the room. You will have to manoeuvre your way through the matrix formed by the swinging bags like a bird flying through the dark forest.

The technique to apply in this situation is extremely complicated. Unless you are physically and mentally well equipped and fit for the task, have already gained the mastery over kung fu in general, and most importantly, get your coach to provide you with on-the-spot guidance, you should never try this exercise. Therefore, it is pointless for me to illustrate further details of the training.

2, WOODEN MAN (少林木人桩法)

Some Shaolin masters of the past used life-sized brass statues to train their Outer Kung Fu, which made their body firm and tough with solid brass quality. Since the brass is such an expensive material, nowadays it has been replaced by wood that, though not as hard as brass, is still good enough to help you build a near-impenetrable body.

Craft A Wooden Man

Select a tough durable tree as material, such as China fir and camphor tree.

Make the statue the size of an average man, say 1.73m, and shape it like a cross, i.e., a man stook with both arms raised sideways at shoulder level. Bury its base firmly in the ground. Wrap its head, chest and abdomen areas in leather padding filled with cotton wool and paper shrouds, so you won’t get bad bruises when hitting on them.

Method of Training

Use your hand, arm, leg and foot to strike the statue. Apply learned kung fu tactics when deliver your strokes.

Appendix: Tiger Beat Soup 真传少林武僧打虎汤秘方

It is a secret Shaolin formula for the treatment of external injuries during Outer Kung Fu training.

After having worked on Outer Kung Fu, you must apply this herbal medicine on your body. It is particularly effective for bruises.

Here is the formula:


Main ingredients:

diansanqi (滇三七) 25g,
yanhusuo (延胡索) 20g,
ruxiang (乳香) 20g,
zirantong (自然铜) 20g,
moyao (没药) 20g,
chuanduanxu (川断续) 20g,
guangmuxiang (广木香) 15g,
dangguiwei (当归尾) 25g,
xuejie (血竭) 15g,
gusuibu (骨碎补) 20g,
wumingyi (无名异) 25g,
jiapi (加皮) 20g.

Other Ingredients:

Root of green vegetable (菜根)500g,
White vinegar 500g.


1) Pound the roots of green vegetable to powder

2) Put all the main ingredients in a pot, add two bows of water. Heat til boiling.

3) Change the ingredients to an earthen pot, add the powder of vegetable roots and white vinegar. Soak for three days.

4) drain the juice into a bowl and discard the dregs.

Training Manual Part Three - Hard Kung Fu


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